Here is brief profile and history of South African Airways. In India, South African Airways flies to Mumbai.

South African Airways

South African Airways (SAA) is South Africa�s largest domestic and international airline company. Headquartered near Johannesburg, South Africa, the main hubs of the airline are OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg and Cape Town International Airport, Cape Town. The carrier operates international routes to a number of destinations within the African continent as well as to the American and European countries. Check out more information on the profile and history f South African Airways, in the lines below.

The origin of South African Airways can be traced back to 1934, when the South African government purchased an airline named 'Union Airways' and renamed it to South African Airways. The airline first flew to Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. In 1935, South African Airways took over South-West African Airways, which since 1932, had been providing a weekly air-mail service between Windhoek and Kimberley. During the same decade, the airline entered international market, by plying flights to Kenya, and Uganda. The airline continued to grow at a slow, yet consistent pace.

In 1945, South African Airways started its European operations, when an Avro York Bomber flew from Palmietfontein to Bournemouth, England. In 1950s, SAA entered the jet era, when it introduced Boeing 707 in its fleet. It made history by becoming the first airline outside UK, to operate the world's first pure jetliner - the De Havilland Comet. The airline brought the aircraft on lease, from British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). In 1971, South African Airways included the Boeing 747 'Jumbo Jet' in its fleet. The Airbus A300 aircraft was added to the fleet of SAA, in 1976. In 1983, Boeing 747-300 EUD became a part of SAA's fleet.

Effect Of Apartheid
The apartheid policy of South African government affected South African Airways business in 1970s. The airline grew in a very slow pace, largely because many countries refused to conduct trade with South Africa, at the time when apartheid (racial discrimination) was prevalent. During the 1980s, due to the international condemnation of Apartheid, SAA's offices were being attacked. The airline was hit back, when the U.S. Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 banned all flights by South African-owned carriers.

Comeback After Abolition Of Apartheid
With the demise of apartheid in 1990s, South African Airways once again started to flourish. It resumed flights to international destinations, including countries in Asia and the United States, in North America. In 1986, South African planes, including the flights of SAA, were permitted to fly for the first time over Egypt and Sudan. The airline entered the Australian market, in 1992. In the same year, the airline entered a code-share agreement with American Airlines and Air Tanzania. In 1994, SAA partnered with Uganda Airlines and Air Tanzania to give rise to the airline - Alliance. In 1995, SAA agreed to code-share with Lufthansa.

In 1997, South African Airways went for re-branding and introduced its new image and livery. Subsequently, the springbok emblem was dropped from its livery. The airline donned its new livery - the national flag with sun. Its name was re-christened to 'South African'. During the time, the airline formed an alliance with SA Airlink and SA Express. In the following years after re-branding, the airline entered code-share agreements - it entered code-share agreement with Delta Airlines (in 1999), Nigeria Airways (in 2001), US Airline (in 2006), and added more aircrafts into its fleet. The airline became a member of Star Alliance, one of the leading alliances of airlines.

Destinations And Fleet
South African Airways flies to a number of around the world, covering countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. In Africa, the airline flies to Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, C�te d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, apart from a number of cities in its home country - South Africa. In Asia, the airline flies to People's Republic of China and India (to Mumbai).

Germany and United Kingdom are the European countries covers by the airline, while it flies to United States in North America. In South America, it operates its flights to Brazil and Argentina. Australia is the sole country in the region of Oceania, to which South African Airways flies. The airline consists a modern fleet of 54 aircrafts, which includes Airbus A319-100, Airbus A340-200, Airbus A340-300, Airbus A340-600, Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 747-400.

Last Updated on 1st August, 2009